ACPE Refreshes Its Image
By John Roch, Communications Manager  |  April  2017


Since last year’s conference in Denver the Board of Directors with assistance from Jackson Spalding, an Atlanta-based marketing communications agency, has researched and reviewed ACPE’s brand and key messaging. Before ACPE could seriously consider changing the association’s name, it was important to evaluate who ACPE is and what differentiates it from others.

In addition to their research of the CPE market, Jackson Spalding conducted an excavation with a focus group composed of diverse ACPE members and staff to finalize its key messaging and brand essence.

At the beginning of 2017, the board conducted a survey to seek the wisdom and feelings of the membership regarding ACPE’s future. The membership was asked for their opinions on the following four name options:

  1. Keep Association for Clinical Pastoral Education
  2. Keep ACPE & add a descriptor
  3. Create a new name & acronym
  4. Create a new name/word
You can read the results of the survey here. The board carefully considered your feedback with its consultants and trademark attorneys.

During its March 30, 2017 meeting, the board adopted a plan to keep the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and also keep ACPE with an additional descriptor. The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education will remain the association’s legal name but it will only be promoted as ACPE. An additional descriptor will be added to a new logo to succinctly define its work. Finally, a new “ACPE Certified” logo will also be created to position ACPE as the gold standard.

The rationale for the decision are:
  • There is a lot of existing equity in the ACPE name and acronym.
  • The ACPE acronym is the “name” most commonly used by people.
  • The meaning of the industry term “CPE” is not likely to change.
  • Any new name would still have to somehow reference CPE.
  • This option recognizes ACPE’s heritage and reduces emphasis on pastoral.
  • Changing the name of the organization would be very expensive (including re-registering the name in every state).
  • The U.S. Department of Education currently recognizes ACPE.
  • ACPE has already been granted a ® for “ACPE certified CPE”.
  • There is precedent for other successful acronym names, such as; UPS, NPR, ESPN, and unicerf.
Jackson Spalding’s design team have already begun work on the new logos and descriptor. They anticipate it will be ready for presentation to the board and the membership at the annual conference in Minneapolis. Over the summer the national office will revamp the website, redesign its collateral material, and develop a style guide for the association.

A decision regarding the titles and credentials for ACPE Supervisors and Clinical Members is expected at the next board meeting.

The Board of Directors appreciates the time and feedback the membership provided during this process. Your ongoing feedback is welcomed and encouraged which you can send to john@acpe.edu.